This post serves up a long overdue updated version of a tree capturing the gist of the War of the Roses, showing the kings and queens of England who sprang from the many uncrowned sons of King Edward III (seen above with his wife and 2nd cousin Philippa of Hainault). It’s as tidy as can be, leaves out very little, actually, and conveys a lot without being totally overwhelming.
Firstly, though, here’s a chart as a frame of reference showing Edward & Philippa and their sons, not one of whom was ever King of England. (Always click on it, and then once you go to the tab it opens in, click it again so it assumes its full and I hope enjoyable capacity.)
The king immediately following Edward’s death in 1377 was the son of Edward, the oldest son and was named Richard II. The next king was picked by Richard to be one of the grandkids of the 2nd oldest son Lionel, but instead the oldest son of the 3rd son, John, Duke of Lancaster, decided to be king and simply took the crown, telling his younger (half) brother that neither he nor any of his descendants ever got to be king, and then passed it on down to his son and then he to his son. But then it went to a great-grandson of the 4th son, Edmund, Duke of York named Edward (again, this time the 4th, or: IV), then very briefly to his teenage son before going to his (Edward IV’s) younger brother who happened to nicely bookend this hot-potato-like game of the throne that had commenced with Edward III’s death by being named Richard also, and thus the 3rd, or: III.
But then he went and got killed by someone who was a great-great-grandson of the 3rd son (John of Lancaster) who happened to be married to a lady who was both a 4x-great-granddaughter of the 2nd oldest son (Lionel, Duke of Clarence), a 2x-great-granddaugher of the 3rd son (John, Lancaster again) as well as a 2x-great-grandaughter of the 3rd son Edmund (of York). This guy was named Henry and when he took that crown became the 7th one, or Henry VII. The son of his and wife Elizabeth was of course, good ole Henry VIII, he was, and all three of this Henry’s kids would rule England when their time came, but since none of them had any kiddies, the crown passed, as is well known, to a man who was the great-grandson of Henry VIII’s big sister Margaret, one James, who was already by right of birth James VI, King of Scots, and on the death of his grandma’s and grandpa’s 1st cousin Elizabeth I in 1609, became King James I of England.
Click on this chart below, download it so you can zoom way in.
There will be a follow-up post that offers something in the way of an explanation of chart-making choices and highlighting some of the use-values of the chart.
If you repost, borrow, or in any way use it, please attribute. Thanks. Enjoy!
My hope is that this chart–this war of the roses family tree–will be shared, linked to, and used widely as a reference.